Desert Train with a Difference

china-camel-traffic-light-Gansu-province

Hello again from Aim2D real time, 24/7 China Business, Marketing, Tech and Social Media News Portal of Bic Brands based in sunny Shunyi. Tuesdays we look at business, marketing, tech or social news in and around China. Friday is image gallery where we examine a place, topic or subject giving you greater insight, background to life in China, and of course, your Chinese consumer.

Today Friday, July 1st our picture gallery looks at China Rail.

Over the past weeks we have been “tripping around” China, looking at 15 Natural Wonders and the newly cleaned up and polished Beijing to Hangzhou Grand Canal. Last week in the absence of anything interesting image wise, we offered a short guide to the Geography of Beijing.

Today we are going to look at an upgrade to one of Beijing’s oldest stations and a newly opened desert train in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous region (North west China) If your not 100% sure where that is, or would like to learn more about it, this is an informative site :

The Iron Horse – err Camel!

Before we get steam up, let’s just explain for our non native English readers – yep, we do have several – that in the old days in the US, the popular form of transport was horse and cart. As the country opened up and railway went everywhere, those smoking steam engines were nick named “Iron Horses.”

Now, when we say train in the desert, we don’t just mean a string of camels. This is actually a loop line serviced by diesel locomotives. So, should be call them “Iron Camels” we wonder? It’s not just – apparently – a world first, but it is the first time in history some of these remote, far flung and very rural towns have been linked to a rail road.

Pity about them being diesel, bound to add a layer of pollution to an otherwise near pristine, albeit harsh and unforgiving environment But we guess to electrify the line would not have been economically viable and possibly physically impossible. However, on the plus side, the railroad will bring economic development and help spearhead an improved standard of living for the inhabitants.

Thinking back 20 years, the Bic physically hiked over the Gobi, maybe a trip from the comfort of an air conditioned carriage would have been more comfortable? Without further ado, lets take a look, this time featuring two different image galleries – to make up for last week!

China’s New Desert-Skirting Railway Hotan-Ruoqiang railway completes loop line

From Smoke and Steam to HSR

And as an extra bonus for last week’s laziness (it was over 40*C -what can we say) we are also taking a quickie at an upgrade to Beijing’s Fengtai Railway Station. Coincidentally, The Bic spent a couple of happy years living in Fengtai back in 2002 / 03. Back then it was a very relaxed, laid back, semi urban community still retaining much of what westerners call the “Charm of Real Beijing.” In other words, it had not fallen prey to bulldozers and developers lust. All good things must end.

One chilly Beijing winters morn, The Bic needed to take train to a meeting out of Beijing. Fengtai station, relatively close, was the ideal launching pad. The Bic’s memory is of a rather old, drafty to the point of being freezing cold, brick and timber building.

A quaint but interesting place. Something like stepping back in time or a museum that smelt strongly of coal smoke. Well it was first built in 1895 so had probably seen a few Thomas the Tank and Dennis the Express engines in its time. Sadly he lacked the presence of mind to take photos.

This image gallery looks at the final stages of construction, a project started in 2018.

After three and a half years construction, on June 20, the first bullet train departed from Beijing Fengtai Station, the largest railway hub passenger station in Asia. It is the first large-scale passenger station in China with a double-decker yard design.

Well sort of three levels really – the top-level is assigned to high-speed rail and the ground-level to normal-speed trains, with the underground subway below. Just really lacks an airport really! But with China due to start testing flying cars next year, maybe there is a secret, hidden heliport built in~

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